Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) wrote,
Paul Crowley

Device dilemmas

It's time I bought one or more new small glowing rectangles. All of mine are ancient; my contract expires in less than a fortnight and I just got a bonus at work.  I'm definitely going to stick with Android devices. But apart from that, I'm totally at sea on what to buy or how many! Your advice gratefully received.

I use them to:
  • check Twitter, Facebook and RSS
  • look things up online
  • read books (that rectangle doesn't currently glow)
  • read PDFs of scientific papers, books etc
  • make voice memos
  • look at maps
  • make journey plans
  • check bus arrival times
  • occasionally take photos
  • from time to time even make and receive voice calls.
I'd like to use them also to make Skype calls.

One thing I can't work out is whether to buy one device or two. What fits comfortably in a pocket is too small for reading PDFs and smaller than I'd like for many of the other jobs. But with my current collection of ageing devices, I've found setting up a WiFi hotspot every time I want to get one of the other devices online on the move is a right pain; it's slow and cumbersome, and you have to remember to turn it off or you're wondering why your Internet is so slow when you get home, or why it's not working on the Tube platform.  I don't really want the expense of two SIM cards and contracts to go with them if I can help it either!

If such a thing existed, I'd almost be tempted by a 7" phone, but it wouldn't fit in my pocket at all, and though my bag is with me everywhere it's often too far away to have my phone in.  I just tried some PDFs on my slightly broken Galaxy Note 1, and the maths PDF is fine but the philosophy one is awful, very hard to read - in part simply due to the double spacing.

For the price of, say, the Galaxy Note 3, I could get something like a top-of-the-range Nexus 7 and a smaller but fairly high-spec phone.

What should I buy? Thanks! This entry was originally posted at, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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October 2 2013, 07:54:00 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  October 2 2013, 07:54:57 UTC

IMHO, you answered your own question...
From the Android I know, it's whether you spring for a Samsung or HTC phone, but, the new Nexus 5 phone is due "soon" I guess along with their new OS.
And the for a tablet, a Nexus 7 as it's just been refreshed recently so that's always good :-)
Mostly commenting so I'll see updates, as I will probably want to update my mobile at some point in the next year and am also wanting to stick with Android and hopefully HTC.
HTC are busy imploding and not making any money. Seems unlikely.
Galaxy Note 3 is region-locked, apparently, even when bought carrier-unlocked from Samsung. Which, if true, is just shitty.

On the other hand the Galaxy Note 2 is a very nice piece of kit and should be available for a song right now.

(Assuming you are not inclined to go iOS-wards.)


October 2 2013, 09:42:11 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  October 2 2013, 09:43:59 UTC

If true, that would certainly strike it from the list of possibilities; a sticker says it, Samsung explicitly deny it, I may have to wait for someone to try it to know the answer for sure!

Update: looks like people have tried it and it's not looking good :(
The Note 2 is not region-locked, and Amazon are knocking them out for £355 inc. VAT unlocked right now.
I currently have the Nexus 4, and it's excellent - no problems with it aside from some issues with camera quality, which may be a user error problem anyway.

If the Nexus 5 continues the trend, I'd say that'll be a great one to get. I don't read books on my phone, but I do everything else you list, and it's good for that. Surprisingly good for video too.


October 2 2013, 18:13:30 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  October 2 2013, 18:15:23 UTC

Right now is a complicated time to be considering a new Android device, many things are going on. I'm keeping an eye on the Oppo N1 for example, because it will ship with Cyanogenmod as standard. Sadly not looking like the Moto X will come to Europe yet. HTC are on their way to imploding, via producing some nice phones like the HTC One.

The N4 is a great device, not nearly current high spec but very cheap right now and perfectly capable. The only things I wish mine had are more storage and LTE but I'm coping on both fronts and I still have no performance complaints. The N5 is expected to be announced in 2 or 3 weeks and expected to be a 5" screen which may well be physically too large for me.

The 2013 N7 is, bluntly, glorious. I just updated from a 2012 and it's better in every way possible. Better screen, battery life, processor, memory... I got the LTE version there because I like having data available on it on a different network than my phone (I use a free monthly Ovivo SIM in it so it doesn't cost me anything). The older N7 was nice and very useful, the new one is just as useful but better. Great form factor for reading things (I do read ebooks on my N4 when I don't have the N7 with me but the larger screen is so much nicer for books and for video while travelling).

The Galaxy Note phablet form factor works for some people but does not work for me (too large to carry around all the time). That's really a personal decision, beyond the Samsung stupidity of region locking newer phones as autopope mentions. There are other phablet sized devices but I haven't looked at them personally.

I would also consider the update frequency and how close to base Android a device is. That's why I pretty much stick to Nexus devices, don't have vendor stupidity in the OS and updates are very fast (even my older/backup Galaxy Nexus is running Android 4.3 now). If there were a device with pentaband 3G (as the N4 has), plain android and a microsd card slot then I'd want one... I had high hopes for the Google Edition Galaxy S4 but the frequency ranges are stupid for international use.
Oooh, the N1 looks interesting.

Once both that and the Nexus5 are out I'll have an interesting decisions to make...
As someone with a 2012 N7, can I say how annoying it is to be told that the 2013 one is so much better :)
Yep, I was in that situation... and then bought a 2013 N7 :)

I liked my 2012 N7, great for flights, watching Qi on the tube, reading things, ssh, etc... but it's a little slow sometimes, doesn't have enough memory to context switch quickly, etc. The 2013 gets rid of all the little grumbles and improves the battery life, screen, etc.

I found Android 4.3 helped my 2012 N7 (and M still uses one and is quite happy with it), presumably from the added support for fstrim.